What is The Republican Party? Part 1: The Kochs

Fred Koch was born in 1900 in Quanah Texas. His parents were Dutch immigrants. After attending Rice University and MIT and graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering Practice, he started working for Texas Company, and then became chief engineer with Medway Oil and Storage in Kent, England. He moved to Wichita, Kansas, where he joined an engineering firm, later becoming a principle.

He developed a new method for turning crude oil into gasoline. After a series of lawsuits (which he won), he was broke. Thus he went to work in the Soviet Union setting up oil refineries. He also built refineries in Europe. Notably, he built the third largest refinery for the Third Reich,  project personally approved by Adolf Hitler.

After the war, Fred returned to Wichita and created Koch industries, which he turned over to Charles Koch in 1966.

In 1958, Fred became a founding member of the John Birch Society, and also worked to make Kansas a Right to Work state. These two items are important to recognize in the thought processes of the to favorite sons, Charles and David.

One of the tenets of the John Birch Society is that “Their (liberal conspirators against the United States) tactics include bribing the people with their own money, employing the use of force, deception and fear, and using every other trick they can think of to acquire total government power over the lives and well-being of the American people….Totalitarian government was to be established in this nation, claimed Robert Welch, not as a result of lightning quick leaps, but through a campaign of patient gradualism designed to persuade a once-free people to vote themselves into tyranny and their nation into an all-powerful world government. The goal of the conspirators has always called for the eventual merger of all peoples and all nations into a diabolically conceived “new world order.”   source: own Birch Blue Book This group opposed such things as membership in the United Nations. Sound familiar?

It is important to note that this was their basis for opposing any transfer payments to the poor, through anti-poverty programs, social security, medicare/medicaid, etc. Some was a reaction to the New Deal put forward by FDR. It was all based on a conspiracy theory that there were “insiders” in the seats of power. These programs were, they claimed, instituted to obtain control over all the people, strip them of their freedom by making them dependent on the government, and result in a totalitarian world order.

By the 60’s, the John Birch Society had between 60,000-100,000 members and had been condemned by both William F. Buckley Jr, and Barry Goldwater as a fringe group “removed from common sense.” However, their tenets remained with David and Charles Koch. The John Birch Society was a co-sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

David and Charles Koch remained active in politics. In 1980, he ran as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Libertarian party, thinking that their party could be molded into his views. When that ticket failed to catch on, the brothers began working with the power structure in the Republican party. They provided significant funding to a number of right wing think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation. They sponsored political donor meetings at high end resorts, such as the Freedom Partners seminars. They provided much of the funding for PACs, like American Crossroads. In addition, they recruited other business moguls to join their efforts. They also supported a number of political candidates, from the school board races in Douglas County, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, to commissioners, to state legislatures, to national offices. Among their favored political figures are Scott Walker, Mike Pence, Sam Brownbeck, Snyder, Rauner, and at one time, Kasich. Newt Gingrich was one of their golden boys until his resignation. More interesting is that they also blocked or blackballed potential candidates who would not support their agenda. They also invested in Chris Jankowski’s REDMAP, to take over state legislators in time for the post 2010 redistricting. They also developed a significant voter database that they would share with their selected candidates that could target communities and even individuals with pleas that appealed to specific voters. The information in that database is coincidentally similar to information known to be in the Cambridge Analytica database that was used by the Trump campaign after Trump won the primaries.

When the Soviet Union fell in 1991 after Desert Storm and Boris Yeltsin replaced Mikhail Gorbachev as President, the Kochs decided that with that event the Soviet Union was no longer Communist and they could do business with the new administration. In 1996, Yeltsin was reelected democratically as the head of what was now Russia, and commenced on democratic reforms. His administration was a disaster. Under his watch, many former KGB agents looted the Russian economy and cornered the assets. By 1999, Yeltsin was extremely unpopular and unwell. He resigned and personally appointed Vladimir Putin as his successor. Putin, over a short time, took control of all of the Russian assets, or gave them to his oligarch friends. One of those assets was the fossil fuel industry. Both Exxon and the Kochs began discussions of worldwide control of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels became their shared interest.

The Koch brothers, through the think tanks they support and through donations,  have continued to work on down ticket issues and races. We have seen legislation in many states that restricts or makes more expensive any investment by the state or individuals in fossil fuels. We have seen the whole Koch agenda enacted in Kansas and significant parts of it in Michigan and Wisconsin, and select issues in Colorado, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois. At all levels of government from county commissioner and school board up to US Congress, candidates are beholden to Koch donations and support. The Republican Party is, to a large extent, a reflection of the Koch Brothers. However, not entirely, as I investigate in my next article, The Evangelicals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Remain a Republican, You Own It

Continuing my hiatus on writing about corporate feudalism (research is hard), I write this to prepare you for what the Republican Party will do when the members are returning from their break.  Those congresspersons who received heavy pushback from their constituents will be given permission to decry what is happening in the Trump administration, and to vote against bills when their votes aren’t needed to pass the Republican agenda.  We must not allow them to get away with this.  Trump is now the Republican standard bearer.  If these congresspersons truly disapprove of the Republican agenda, they must repudiate being a republican.  Otherwise, they own it.

As I have said before, I used to be an active Republican.  I came by it honestly.  My parents were active Republicans.  I was in the mold of the Rockefeller Republicans.  We were pro choice, pro women rights, pro civil rights, but we were Republicans. I served as treasurer of Republican Women in three states and worked on numerous campaigns.  As the party became more anti choice, I was looked at funny, but they claimed they were a big tent, so I stayed.  As the party became more anti women, it got more uncomfortable, but I hoped to move the party more to center, so I stayed.  As the party got more evangelical christian, I was uneasy on behalf of my Jewish friends, but I stayed.

These views I held were not looked on kindly, however, and I found myself being edged out.  We had arguments and long discussions.  My own experiences were beginning to create conflicts with my party affiliation as well.  I became a speaker for Planned Parenthood, and found myself talking with battered women.  I volunteered for a program that helped K-6 homeless children.  I learned about domestic violence, and I learned about what it was to be poor.  I learned how people wound up homeless.  I learned what the lives of homeless children were like.  I found this knew knowledge contrasted with the slogans I had heard from the party.  I tried to speak to my state legislators about the issue, and found no compassion or interest in helping.

At the time, I considered myself a strong Christian.  But the more I read my Bible, the less I could reconcile the positions of the party with what I was reading.  I read that taking care of the homeless was our responsibility.  I read that feeding the hungry was our responsibility.  I read that our job was to heal the sick.  Since I had no talent in healing, it was my job to make sure the sick could access those with that talent.  I pointed out these things to my Republican associates, but they always had an “answer.”  It was interesting, the answer always began with “Yeah, but ….”  I found that to be a Republican was to live by the Yeahbut.

Then Tancredo and Musgrave started saying horrible things about gays, and wanting to essentially persecute them.  I had good friends who were gay.  I knew these things were false.  These things were horrid lies.  There was no yeahbut that would work.  I spoke up against these lies and implored my fellow Republicans to stop.  One of my associates said to me, “I know you have been a Republican all your life.  But if you are going to be a Republican now, this is our platform and you have to endorse it. Our standard bearers endorse it and you have to support them.”  She was right.  If I retained the title Republican, that meant I endorsed what they stand for, and I had to own it.  It defined me.  I could not endorse it.  I refused to own it.  It would not define me.  I changed parties.

It was amazing how much easier it became once I left that party.  I no longer had to twist myself into an intellectual pretzel.  I no longer had to live on a diet of yeahbuts.  I could look myself in the mirror.

Today, the party stands for a number of things I could never endorse.  Their standard bearer is Donald Trump, and the rest of the establishment support him.  If one is to be a Republican today, one is endorsing and supporting Trump and all he and the party stand for.  Not just in the platform, but in their words and deeds since January 20.  They endorse it.  They own it.  Because it reflects their value system, it defines them.

So what is it that they endorse?  What do they own?  What defines them?

  1. The Republicans call themselves the party of patriotism.   Yet there is the distinct smell of Russian interference in our elections, where our President might be compromised, and our nation is at risk of becoming a Russian puppet government.  The Republican congress killed a letter of inquiry into that connection.  As a Republican, you don’t want to ensure that our election was fair, honest and open as long as your party wound up with maximum power. Foreign interference, from an adversary no less, is acceptable.  Now Trump  accuses, with no attribution, the former President of the U.S. of spying on him during the election.   Trump is the Republican standard bearer.  This is the Republican position.  If you remain a Republican, you endorse it.  You own it.  It defines you.
  2. Republicans call themselves a Christian party.  Jesus said to heal the sick.  Republicans claim to support access to health care for all, but oppose coverage.  Access means it is there, but not necessarily affordable.  In many cases, a person has to choose between life saving medications (i.e. insulin) and eating.  They may be allowed to get the medications, but they can’t afford them.  In other words, choose the way you will die, just get on with it.  This is not affordable health care, and it will kick some 30 million people off of any coverage.  It will also make health care incredibly hard to afford for many millions more.  Seniors will be especially hard hit.  People will get sick, and people will die.  However, it will mean inflated profits for health insurance companies, allowing them some of the highest profit margins on the planet.    The new Republican health care plan not only kicks 20 million people off insurance roles currently covered by ACA, it also allows companies to stop providing health care to their employees.  This amounts to around 30 million FAMILIES losing their health care.  At an average of 2 children per family, this means 120 million more without health care.  This is the Republican position.  If you remain a Republican, you endorse it.  You own it.  It defines you.
  3. The Republicans call themselves to be the party of open doors.  Donald Trump wants to ban Muslims from our country.  He wants to deport millions of undocumented people, many of whom came here as children.  He is deporting an Afghanistan veteran who served two tours of duty.  Imagine a U.S. military trained soldier in another country and mad at the U.S.  He says this is a Christian nation.  He isn’t particularly happy with the words of Jesus, “For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in … Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”   He is prepared to rip families apart, remove people from their jobs, destroy communities to fulfill his wish.  His travel ban had people stuck in airports for days with no direct access to their families or legal help.  He is willing to leave refugees suffering as they flee oppression.  He is willing to remove people who grew up in this country to places they have never seen (it is also likely they are actually deporting U.S. citizens under the pretense that they look undocumented).  The only crime committed by Dreamers is that they stayed with their parents who were seeking a better life for their children.  He has enabled the harassment of Muslims and the vandalism of mosques.  He has enabled the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and terrorizing of Jewish centers.  He has enabled the bullying of Latino U.S. citizens.    This is now the Republican position.  If you remain a Republican, you endorse it.  You own it.  It defines you.
  4. Republicans call themselves the family values party.  This is the party that wants to obliterate Planned Parenthood and all the health care services it offers to low income men and women (no, not just women).  It is the party that wants an employer to have a say in whether a woman takes birth control.  It is the party that demands that every egg be fertilized, but would deny pre natal coverage, coverage for a hospital birth, post natal coverage, assistance in paying for feeding or caring for the child, and should the mother not live up to their standards of raising the child, would jail the mother.  This is the party trying to redefine rape to its narrowest possible definition, letting rapists off the hook so as not to “ruin the lives of fine young men.”  This is the party whose standard bearer boasts about groping women, walking into dressing rooms of naked adolescent women, insulting women’s appearance, has been accused of physical abuse, and has walked through 3 marriages, two ending because of his infidelity.  Rape, groping, domestic violence, insults and demeaning of women is not only ok, it is encouraged.  This is now the Republican position.  If you remain a Republican, you endorse it.  You own it.  It defines you.
  5. There are many other contradictions between how the Republican Party labels itself and the policies they support.  But there are also many other positions they take that are harmful to Americans.  Betsy DeVos’s education office is mandating that states accept vouchers and relax accountability in the quality of the education provided.  While this would divert funds from public schools to private, it will not make them more accessible to the people.  Rather, it will raise the rates charged by private providers (demand/supply) while not ensuring that the students are receiving the education they are paying for.  At the same time, it will divert funds away from public schools, eroding the quality of education they are able to provide.  Special needs students will be especially hard hit, as the private institutions will not be required to accommodate them, but the public schools will not be able to afford quality services.  On a different subject, both members of Congress and the president have voiced support to violating or ignoring provisions of our treaties.  There are too many treaties to name here (you can find lists of those treaties here and here.)  These include both international treaties and treaties within our borders with Native American ties.  The international treaties at risk include trade agreements, agreements for mutual support, treaties protecting the environment, and (can you believe it?) the Geneva convention.  The number of treaties threatened with Native American tribes is in the hundreds,  and all are RIGHT NOW being violated by U.S. corporations and the U.S. government.  In addition, members of congress and the President have indicated a predilection to defaulting on U.S. debt.  A default on this debt not only affects foreign investors, but every person who holds a U. S. savings bond.  The violation of treaties and default on U.S. debt reduces the word and honor of the United States to zero.  The Republican members of Congress and their standard bearer support these actions.   This is now the Republican position.  If you remain a Republican, you endorse it.  You own it.  It defines you.

All this and more is what it now means to be a Republican.  You cannot bring the party back.  You cannot urge its members away from it.  It is the substance of who they are and what they believe.  This is now the Republican position.  If you remain a Republican, you endorse it.  You own it.  It defines you.  And when the next elections come up, we will remind the voters of that.

 

 

I’m Grabbing a Mop

 I have come to the conclusion that sitting around blogging is not being the change we need to be.  I have seen the pie fights, the trolls, the proliferation of meta diaries.  I have seen those who support the President called “Obamabots,” as if agreeing with this President is proof that we have no brains of our own.  I have watched the spectators throw tomatoes from the grandstand while the team is out trying to move the ball.  I saw the result of all this nonsense in the 2010 elections and now we are suffering the consequences.  Elections have consequences.  2012 is coming and I am grabbing a mop.

Our President has been faced with the worst succession of disasters, turmoil and nastiness that I have seen in my half century here or read about in my history books.  Only Abraham Lincoln has seen more division in the country, only John Adams and Thomas Jefferson have seen such chaos.  The response from American citizens has been to either attack the President or attack each other.  I don’t have time for this.  Our President asked us to grab a mop.  I am grabbing.

I am grabbing a mop because I can’t afford not to.  I am grabbing a mop because my own, my husband’s and my sons’ futures all depend on the success of this President and the failure of the new GOP agenda.  I am grabbing a mop because my younger son will continue to need my company’s health care for a few more years.  My husband and I are nearing retirement age, we will need social security and medicare.  My mother needs both.

I am grabbing a mop because my parents did without niceties and our family growing up did without vacations so my parents could put money away for their old age.  My husband and I did the same.  If this GOP is allowed to hold our country hostage on the debt ceiling, demanding the entire middle class surrender for the debt ceiling to be raised, all that we have put away for a stable future turns to dust.  Everybody’s savings, everybody’s investments will be rendered worthless.  All of our old people who wisely put away for a rainy day will be standing in the rain in soup kitchen lines.  I am grabbing a mop because I think that is a travesty.

I am grabbing a mop because instead of pushing social equality forward by legalizing rights for our LGBT community, this current crop of GOPers is trying to turn back the clock on women.  They are also trying to turn back the clock on workers.  They are trying to make our society into a nonagrarian feudalism, with major corporations as the holders of all the wealth.  I am grabbing a mop because a society is made up of people and people should be valued more highly than companies.  And they should be valued equally.

The mop I grab may not be the mop you may grab.  You may not like how I wield the mop, and you may not agree that the place I choose to clean up is the best place to start.  That is fine.  Grab your own mop.  Grab the mop of your choice and clean up the corner you prefer.  But as the President said, “Don’t go criticizing how I am holding the mop.”  At least I am mopping something somewhere.

Since I will be in the mopping business, I may not have time to show up and chat.  I may wander into WYFP or Brothers and Sisters now and again, but I will have to use most of my time scrubbing those ugly corners where the GOP is trying to leave their smelly little droppings.  Maybe after the 2012 elections I will have more time.  Meanwhile, I am grabbing a mop.

I leave you with these lovely words from Scott McKenzie:

Hey, what’s the difference if we don’t come back?
Who’s gonna miss us in a year or so?
Nobody knows us or the things we’ve been thinking
So what’s the difference if we go?

Meanwhile, I hope my mop can make a difference.

Exposing Boehner

Remember Major League?  Remember the scene where the woman who bought the team came in and told the team that they had been chosen because they were all losers?  Remember how the coach then made a poster of the owner, where she was dressed all in black and had a dialog balloon that said, “You guys suck?”  Remember how the coach had calculated how many wins it would take to win the pennant (amazing how he was 100% correct) and how after each win a piece of her suit would come off until she was standing there in her altogether?  I decided it was time to expose John Boehner in a similar way, but instead of wins, we remove a part of his attire based on the groups he hates.  Follow me after the fold to expose Boehner.  Warning:  If you are under 18 you need parents permission to continue, and if you are squeamish you have been apprised.

 

I don’t have the graphics skills to actually do the exposure here, and I am not sure I could stand to actually see it.  Therefore you will have to use your imagination.

Behold John Boehner.  His orangeness stands before you (fresh off a visit to the spray tan store) in a navy blue pin striped suit with his hand raised in Heil position. A dialogue bubble above his head says, “Not only NO but HELL NO!”

John Boehner hates the Gays.  We start by removing his left pant leg, revealing that he is afraid that if the gay couple up the street who have been living together for 17 years suddenly got a license, his marriage would collapse, his wife would leave him and his children would be sucked back up through the womb into the great ethers beyond.  They would be able to share the insurance one partner’s workplace offers to families of the employees and there would be none left for John.  They might actually be able to make life and death related decisions should one partner become unable to do that for him or her self.  They might be able to inherit the house they have both been paying on.  Worst, John is afraid he would be forced to marry a man – and it would probably wind up being Mitch McConnell.  What a scary thought!  So, John, off with the left pant leg.  OMG!  That looks peculiarly like Big Bird’s leg!  No wonder you keep your pants on!

John Boehner hates Messicans.  Never mind that many have roots in this country that date back further than Johns.  They don’t look like you or me and they speak with an accent (not Mitch’s accent, theirs is from further south).  They keep having Democrat babies.  This has to stop.  Before you know it, they will demand equal representation and give our country back to Messico.  They must be stopped.  It is not enough to seal the border, they have to be exported en masse.  Except for the one who mows his lawn, the one who watches his children and those who repair his roof.  They have to go home.  Before you know it, they will have more Democrats than his white kids have Republicans and he will lose power.  So John, off with the right pant leg.  Just as I was afraid – it IS big bird’s legs.  Orange and all.  Guess you will have to make adjustments to that spray tan machine.

John Boehner hates Moslems.  He will vehemently deny that Moslems came up with scientific method as well as their contributions to geometry and astronomy.  He will deny that the numbers we use are arabic numerals.  He probably doesn’t know that without Moslems we would not have algebra, or perhaps he hates them because of algebra.  He knows only that most of them live far away and they all are out to get him.  They call their god by a different name.  That should not be allowed.  They need to be arrested and deported.  They cannot build a community center, because community centers always result in votes for Democrats and he will lose power.  For the Moslems, we remove his shoes, remembering what being hit with shoes means to Moslems.

John Boehner hates black people.  He always has.  Doesn’t know why, but he does.  He has “heard things” about black people and they make him squeamish.  They are all on welfare except the rich ones who aren’t.  Actually he would like the rich ones except they don’t give him money.  So they all have to go.  So, John, off with your right sleeve, the one uplifted in your grand NO gesture.  Oh, my!  That arm looks strangely like it came from Grover and was painted orange.  John, you look strangely like an orange Statue of Liberty.

John Boehner hates children.  Some people think we should take perfectly good money away from bankers and financiers and use it to pay for frivolous things like SCHIP and teachers.  Children don’t vote, why should we give them money?  Besides, if we give them money they will all learn to be lazy.  Let them pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and if they have no boots let them find some.  So we remove the left sleeve.  No comment merited.

John Boehner hates veterans.  He sends them to war, and when they come home broken he thinks they should fend for themselves.  He especially hates homeless veterans.  They should have stayed at war and died like heros.  How dare them come home and sleep in streets us taxpayers pay (too little) for!  Money to upgrade VA facilities?  Waste, waste, waste.  That money could be used to balance the Bush-inflated budget.  Never mind that his friend Bush sent them out to war in the first place.  When they come home they should get rich and give him money.  He even hates them in spite of the fact that many vote republican and keep him in power!  They embarrass him, so he hates them.  In honor of veterans we remove his tie.  Oh, my, what a neck there!  John, John, John, where did you find an orange turkey to take that off of?

John Boehner hates the poor.  They also drain our coffers.  He especially hates the new poor because they lost their jobs and expect Congress to do something about it.  Why should he do something about it?  He didn’t lose his job.  As long as his job is secure, he can’t be bothered worrying about people who are losing their cars and their homes because they lost their jobs.  Besides … another job will come along soon enough … maybe.  When in doubt, flip burgers.  But don’t expect money from our treasury.  That is reserved for bankers, financiers and insurance executives.  They give him money.  Lots of money.  The poor don’t give him money.  They just vote.  If you don’t have money you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.  Too many don’t vote for him and he will lose power.  So we remove the right side of his suitcoat.  This is getting ugly folks.

John Boehner hates women.  They should keep in their place.  They should get pregnant and stay pregnant and if they get pregnant and don’t want to be pregnant they should stay pregnant anyway.  That is what god made them for – to be pregnant.  And to cook his dinner.  Equality for women?  Never!  Not on his watch!  Except the ones in the tea party who make him feel manly.  Soccer moms should vote like their husbands tell them to.  Except when their husbands are Democrats.  Too many of these darned women don’t vote for him and he will lose power.  So there goes the left side of his suitcoat!  Geez, John!  With all that tanning you do at least you could have a six pack.  That looks more like a keg.  That belly button looks oddly like a bung.  No wonder you get so upset when you see a picture of a shirtless Barack.

Well that about covers everybody John hates and uncovers almost all of John.  What is left is akin to a loin cloth.  Luckily he still loves the teabaggers, so we can leave him with that loincloth.  I am thankful … I don’t think I could even stand the mental visual if the loincloth had to go.  It looks strangely like an oversized teabag, covering a small and barely effective Boehner.

There you have it, my friends.  John Boehner exposed.